US President Donald Trump’s administration is maintaining pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to exclude Huawei Technologies from Germany’s 5G networks, though a high-level American official received no guarantees the Chinese supplier would be shut out at meetings in Berlin last week.
A delegation led by US undersecretary of state Keith Krach held talks with German officials during a two-day visit to the German capital. Krach said he was encouraged by new security measures being discussed by Merkel’s government, but that it remains open whether Huawei will be barred from 5G in Europe’s biggest economy.
The US official described Huawei as the “backbone of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state” and said Germany is under particular threat from the government in Beijing. He called the communist party an “existential threat”.
“The parasite is attached to the prize, and that is Germany,” Krach told a group of reporters Friday in Berlin, adding that the US has “respect” for whatever decisions Germany makes.
Merkel is holding the line against security hawks in her own government who agree with the US risk assessment as her ruling coalition finalises rules for Germany’s 5G network. A new set of regulations as part of a sprawling IT security law would tighten scrutiny over equipment vendors, giving cabinet members room to flag risks.
Merkel has refused to compromise on her core position that Germany mustn’t single out Huawei with a targeted ban. Although talks are ongoing, the measures on their own aren’t likely to amount to a de facto veto of Huawei by making the security demands too onerous, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
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